St Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István-bazilika) was built between 1850 and 1905 in neoclassical style based on the plans of József Hild, who could not see the complete church as he died in 1867. Miklós Ybl took over overseeing the works, who could not see the completion either, as he died in 1891. Eventually it was finished by József Kauser: the keystone of the basilica, indicating the completion of the long works, was put on in the presence of Franz Joseph I. the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1905.
The church is truly huge: it can take up approx. 8500 people, as it’s as big under the ground as over it.
The Basilica’s dome is like a compass in Budapest – you can easily locate yourself in the city if you spot the dome. In 1868 the dome collapsed – partly due to the low quality pillars given as presents to the church. Then the works were stalled for about 3 years. It explains why the construction of the church took more than half a century. There’s an elevator, which will take you up to the top (about 96m/ 315 feet high), where you can take some nice photos of the city. Or you can make a thorough workout by climbing the 364 stairs that lead to the balcony.
Highlights: statues made by Alajos Stróbl (see the floor plan below), ‘St Stephen offers the crown to Virgin Mary’ – painting by Gyula Benczúr, the panoramic view from the top, the Treasury and the Reliquary (incl. the mummified right fist of St Stephen (considered a holy relic), the first king of Hungary), the heaviest bell in Hungary in the southern tower (9,600 kilogram/ 21,164 pounds), the organ made by József Angster (1834- 1918). The Choir of the Basilica (founded in 1909) sings every Sunday at 10 am: here’s the Program of the Basilica Choir.
Address: Szent István tér Budapest V. ker.
Phone: 00-36-1-311-0839 or 338-2151
- Mon-Fri 9 am – 5 pm, and 7-8 pm,
- Sat 9 am – 1 pm, and 7-8 pm,
- Sun 1 -5 pm, and 7-8 pm
- Elevator operating from April 1 to October 31
Prices: 1600 HUF, for students & retired 1200HUF
metro (blue line): Arany János utca station
Here’s the (Greek-cross) floorplan of the Basilica with some of the prominent statues made by Hungarian sculptors, painters:
Video of St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest (made by a fellow traveler, adelsonline)
And another user made video (garrymay) of the Basilica, with a short sample of the Choir singing:
1, If you want to see the Treasury, the Reliquary, the Chapel, and get further info on the Basilica, turn to the official guides (Mon-Fri at 11am, 2pm, 15:30, St at 11am), 2000HUF/ person. Book in advance, and for groups get reductions, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for further programs or a good restaurant in the neighborhood of the Basilica (map icon: red balloon in the middle), take a look at the Budapest Tourist Map: double click to zoom in, and click on the icons to learn more about the attractions: